A performance of 'Fiddler On The Roof' at the Cameri Theater, Tel Aviv, May 2008.
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / RONI TOREN)
The man who yelled "Heil Hitler, Heil Trump" during a performance of Fiddler on the Roof in Baltimore last week apologized – and said he is a sharp critic of US President Donald Trump.
The audience at the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore, Maryland, was shaken on Wednesday evening when a man shouted “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump” during the intermission before being escorted out of the theater. According to The Baltimore Sun, people started running in the theater, fearing that the outburst was the beginning of a shooting.
Two days later, the man – identified as 58-year-old Anthony M. Derlunas II – apologized for his outburst and said his message was misunderstood.
“I shouldn’t have taken my political frustrations out at a public show,” he said, according to the Sun. “How I could have been so stupid and insensitive, I don’t know. I was so insensitive. But I am not a racist, I am not antisemitic,” he added. “I feel so sorry for the fear and the people’s night that I ruined. I just wasn’t thinking at the time.”
Derlunas admitted he had consumed alcohol before attending the show, and said that contributed to his behavior.
“The thing that I can’t stand is Trump spreading hatred, and what did I do? I spread hatred.”
According to The New York Times, the Baltimore Police Department said Derlunas would not be facing any charges, since his words were protected free speech.
On Friday, the Washington, DC office of the Anti-Defamation League on Friday urged authorities to press charges against Derlunas for his actions.
“We are dismayed that prosecutors in Baltimore decided not to file criminal charges against Anthony M. Derlunas for allegedly shouting “Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!” and giving the Nazi salute during a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Hippodrome, causing a disruption and stoking fear in the theater,” said Doron F. Ezickson, the DC regional director for the ADL.
“For those in attendance, this antisemitic outburst was a threatening, intimidating act of disorderly conduct... While the perpetrator’s comments themselves may constitute protected speech under the First Amendment, his conduct disturbed the peace and stoked fear among audience members, undermining their sense of safety and security during the performance. Considering the impact of his actions, we believe the authorities should bring appropriate criminal charges in this matter.”
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